NEW YORK - Diego and Dante are inseparable - two labs that are so playful they bring smiles to the faces of everyone they meet.
"They have so much personality themselves," said Jenny Coffey of the Animal Haven shelter. "And they have so much love."
For years, Dante and Diego were fixtures in the East Village. Together with their owner, a man known as Chile, they would sit in front of a restaurant on East 12th Street and greet everybody who walked by.
"He loved those dogs," Edgar Villongco, owner of the restaurant Raclette, said. "You never saw him anywhere without them."
Chile lived for decades on East 12th between Avenues A and B. But last month he died. The dogs lost not only their beloved owner, but their home.
"Everybody knew the dogs, everybody knew him," said one of Chile's neighbors. "He was a trip."
"Great dogs," said neighbor Madi Horstman, who used to care for Dante and Diego. "They're my best friends."
With no one on the block able to adopt the dogs, neighbors reached out to the shelter Animal Haven. Right before Thanksgiving Dante and Diego were taken in and workers set out on a slightly difficult mission: finding one home for two dogs believed to be between 10 and 13 years old.
"The problem for us was how are you gonna adopt two bonded senior dogs," Coffey said. "So what we decided to do was to go on Instagram and Facebook and tell their story."
It did not take long for the public to respond. Less than two weeks after they were brought in, Diego and Dante were adopted by a Brooklyn couple whose dog had died a month earlier.
"You know that they've been loved," said Dante and Diego's new owner Robin Daley Burke. "You know that they've been walked to the park every day. You know a little bit about what they expect from us."
It was a bitter-sweet moment for Dante and Diego's old neighbors and for workers at Animal Haven, who had fallen for the dogs and their story.
"I'm really jealous of whoever adopted my boys," said Horstman
"Are you gonna miss them?" reporter Michael Scotto asked Coffey.
"Actually, I am," she responded.
"Why didn't you adopt them?" Scotto replied.
"I already have a dog and he's pretty selective," Coffey said.
But both know Dante and Diego are on their way to charm new owners and a new neighborhood.
"It just makes me feel good," said Daley Burke. "I tear up in a happy way."
Tears of joy for two dogs that lost their owner, but thanks to a community of friends are beginning a new life together.